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  • Melmark Congratulates Kaitlyn Cashin! Our July Employee of the Month

    A Monthly Newsletter for the Melmark Community

    July 2013

    $500 Referral Bonus If you know someone who would make an exceptional member of the Melmark team, tell them about our upcoming Employee Open House. We’re looking for motivated and caring individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of children and adults with intellec- tual and developmental disabilities. An existing Melmark employee will receive $250 when the new hire is here for three months and another $250 when the new hire is here for one year. You can refer new hires all year long!

    Save the Date! Employee Open House

    Wednesday, August 21, 2013 and Wednesday, October 30, 2013 from time 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

    Remember to fill out the pink employee referral form, found in Human Resources, before the new hire begins at Melmark.

    Ask anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Kaitlyn, and they will tell you she is kind, team- spirited and always has a smile on her face. Kaitlyn’s supervisors and coworkers describe her as always putting everyone’s needs above her own. She is quick to adjust to new plans and

    goals, and is always looking for ways to improve existing ones.

    Kaitlyn demonstrates a lot of patience and commitment; she spent several months training with one particular student to help the student achieve one of his goals of becoming more independent.

    Kaitlyn is always friendly, polite, and positive when interacting with coworkers, supervisors and Melmark families. Even in the face of the multiple staffing, scheduling, and roster changes

    her classroom has gone through in recent weeks, Kaitlyn remains positive. When interacting with students’ families, whether it is in the drop off/pick up line, or on the phone, Kaitlyn is professional and approachable.

    Kaitlyn’s supervisors respect her, and her peers look up to her for her meaningful contributions and thoughtful suggestions regarding student programming. Kaitlyn frequently shares ideas and suggestions on how to foster independence in various skills with our students. When making a suggestion, Kaitlyn presents her idea in a respectful manner and welcomes further conversation about the topic, which creates a positive, collaborative discussion and helps ensure the best possible plan is implemented for the students’ benefit.

    Kaitlyn recently became a peer mentor and was just assigned her first mentee. Her supervisor has great confidence that Kaitlyn will show mentees how to face challenges with the same smile and sense of humor that Kaitlyn shows every day.

    Special Savings for You!

    Please join us in congratulating Kaitlyn on being named our July Employee of the Month!

    Dorney Park & Wild Water Kingdom Use the Melmark Promo Code to get discounted tickets to Dorney Park and Wild Water Kingdom in Allentown.

    Here’s how:

    Visit www.dorneypark.com At the top of the home page, enter promo code: melmark

    Then simply purchase and print your tickets, and enjoy your visit!

    One-Day Regular Admission

    Ages 3-61, 48” or taller in shoes $36.00

    One-Day Jr. / Sr. Admission

    Ages 3-61, under 48” in shoes or Age 62 or Older $27.00

  • First experiences can be exhilirating and frightening at the same time. Think back to the first time you had to speak in front of an audience; the first time you took a major test; or your first job interview. If you’re like most of us, you were probably nervous, but you went through with it anyway because you knew the end result was worth it.

    This ability to overcome the fear of a new experience is one of the many reasons I am so proud of The Joybells of Melmark for their Phillies game performance. The Joybells have performed for a number of audiences,

    both large and small. But on Saturday, July 13th, they had the opportunity of a lifetime: performing the National Anthem in front of more than 40,000 baseball fans at Citizens Bank Ballpark. If you were not able to attend the game to see and hear The Joybells perform, I urge you to watch the video on our Facebook page and website. These men and women played beautifully, putting any fears or nervous energy aside. They represented Melmark, as well as all people with disabilities, as a group of talented, team-oriented individuals who can overcome any challenge life throws their way. What better ambassadors could one ask for?

    Congratulations to each member of The Joybells for this amazing performance.

    Miss Maine Invitational Talent Show Melmark held the annual Miss Maine Invitational Talent Show on Saturday, July 27th. Clients, families and staff welcomed newly crowned contestants from Maine, New Hampshire, Missouri, Connecticut, Hawaii and District of Columbia.

    The event kicked off with a talent show in Melmark’s Multi-Purpose Center and was followed by an autograph session. Afterward, each contestant joined members of The Meadows Program for a luncheon and swim party.

    We thank these young women for participating in this annual event and wish each luck as they compete for the title of Miss America on Sunday, September 15th at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.

    A Message from Our President Joanne Gillis-Donovan, Ph.D.

    More photos from The Miss Maine Invitational can be viewed on our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/MelmarkPA

  • The Joybells of Melmark performed the National Anthem at the Phillies game on Saturday, July 13th at Citizens Bank Ballpark. The Joybells have performed since the early 1970s on television and at The White House, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Mansion and the Kimmel Center. The group has also held concerts at churches, schools, colleges and corporate/community events, from Maine to Florida and throughout the Midwest. This was their first performance at a Phillies game.

    Melmark President and CEO, Joanne Gillis-Donovan, Ph.D. says this was a wonderful opportunity, not only for The Joybells, but also for Phillies fans and players. “We are so grateful to the Phillies for selecting these men and women to perform the National Anthem,” said Gillis-Donovan. “These adults have incredible talent, and being able to share those talents with the more than 40,000 fans, players and Phillies staff in Citizens Bank Ballpark was just amazing. Our mission at Melmark is to highlight the abilities of those we serve when, too often, people focus on their disabilities. The Joybells always capture the hearts of their audience and gently open their eyes to the many similarities we all share, regardless of our ability level.” We are so proud of each member of The Joybells for their beautiful and moving performance.”

    Photos from The Joybells’ performance at the Phillies game have been printed in The Delaware County Daily Times, The Main Line Times and Main Line Suburban Life. The photo gallery and video of the full performance has been viewed and shared by more than 10,000 Facebook fans. To see the pictures and video, visit www.facebook.com/melmarkpa.

    Phillies Game Performanceof MELMARK

  • After a number of months of intense advocacy by human service providers and negotiations by the legislators, the Pennsylvania budget was passed, with specific outstanding issues. There are a few areas that are associated with the budget that were not resolved at the time the budget package was approved, including expansion of Medicaid (area of importance for the disability community). These areas will need to be reviewed again by the legislature.

    The following is a summary of budget figures for areas that impact Melmark, courtesy of Policy Information Exchange / Arc of PA:

    The Governor signed the $28.375B state budget bill for FY13/14 a few hours before the June 30th deadline. This is actually a spending increase of $645M (2.3%) over FY12/13.

    Department of Public Welfare

    Intellectual Disability Waivers: State funding is increased by $19.867M which includes:

    • $14M for 380 people on the counties emergency waiting list

    • $4.5M for 700 graduates from special education programs

    • $1.4M for 100 people who currently reside in a state Intellectual Disability Center

    Autism: The final budget includes an increase in state funds of $1.497M to serve an additional 118 people

    Community Base Funding Intellectual Disabilities: There’s a small reduction in base funding.

    Human Services Block Grant: This block grant was created in FY12/13 and currently exists in 20 counties. It combines funds into one block grant and gives the county flexibility on how the money is spent for a number of categories. A 10% cut remains in this budget, so effectively this represents level funding from FY 12/13. There is still a desire by some in the legislature to expand the block grant model to more counties even though the effectiveness of the first year’s implementation has not been deteremined.

    Department of Education

    Special Education: Special education is again level-funded. This is year six of level funding.

    Approved Private Schools: Approved Private Schools are level-funded.

    ADVOCACY CORNER

    Written by Chris Tabakin

    Show Me the Money!

  • Newtown Square Fire Chief, Doug Simpson, along with NSFC firefighters visited the children and adults at Melmark this month. The firefighters talked to everyone about fire safety, answering their questions and offering tips to keep them calm and safe in case of an